PM, a.k.a Project Managers, are professionals in IT, who are in charge of various software development processes such as initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time, according to Wikipedia. They might seem to be no different than other leaders in the economy, however, in order to handle the complex and ever-changing nature of IT, there are much more in a good PM than we may once imagine.
But how to be a Project Manager like everyone adores exactly?
Hold efficient meetings
To be a great PM, the first idea you should have is to understand your team members: what they’d live for and what they’d rather dodge. This requires lots of efforts and been-throughs, which are more than just “I know”.
I, during the time served as a “peasant” developer, have realised this one thing that later benefits me quite a lot as a PM:
“I hate meeting. We all hate meeting”
Yes, I’m now speaking for my old self and my co-workers. Not one of us enjoys meeting. Long, clumsy, ridiculously intense meetings. That type of meeting where everyone doesn’t understand what the boss was trying to say, nor why he was shouting at our faces. Truth be told, no one wants to be in a big, giant, suffocating room only to listen to their boss complaining about something they don’t even know what is. It’s such a waste of time, not to mention the annoyance lingering afterwards.
Learning from my sad memories over meetings, I beg you never let your team members have those terrible experiences. It’s not going to make the overall team performances better, nor the problems go away. Flip the table, you shall give your members a reason to voluntarily join the meeting – a genuine one, apart from their responsibility as a team member.
All you have to do is to think about the reason why the meeting is there. Before calling your team on a meeting, make a list of issues that need to be addressed and the expected outcomes you want to attain, set forth what are important and build a detail, time-boxed agenda for the meeting (then make sure to follow the time restrictions as well!). In this way, you will guarantee the comprehension of the meeting so that everyone can easily follow.
Moreover, during the meeting, make sure you adjust your emotions. I know you are stressing out, but it’s not wise to take it out on your team members. It sure will backfire you someday. Instead, start off with recognition or appraisal of what they have done well. Thereby, tactfully point out what they can do better (not what they have done wrong – these two are totally different), and enlighten them with a way to improve. Let them know their efforts are counted, and that you care about their development and want them to rise beyond their current limit from the bottom of your heart.
You can also breathe a fresh wind into the meeting, such as getting them on a play-and-learn session or presents a funny video of you cheering on their latest milestones. Not every meeting needs to be formal, and you don’t always have to be an earnest boss!
Last but not least, prepare a clear action plan and delegation at the end of the meeting. It’s your job to keep track of the progress anyway, so keep it in a way that’s convenient the most to you. By strategically dividing the amount of work to specific persons, not only the whole performance becomes transparent and effective, but the conflicts will be minimised as well.
Prepare a good plan
It’s exhilarating to go with a flow. You are free to confront unexpected adversities, strengthens your flexibility, and figures many mind-bending things out from the middle of nowhere. It’s the most thrilling journey when not knowing what’s waiting ahead: just like you are on a real-deal roller coaster. High risks, high returns they said.
But as a project manager: a leader of a considerable number of people, a trustworthy partner to the customers, a representative of the company, lots of factors shall be contemplated before you hop on a freewheeling ride.
The work scope of a PM, take simple, is to bridge the gap between the company and the customers as well as the customers and the developers. Therefore, achieving satisfaction from all three parties is the ultimate goal while you’re a PM. In other words, you are the servant of the three of them. Therefore, it’s not up to you to decide the number of risks you are going to take – it’s theirs. And often time, they would all agree that the risks you and them carry along are too high for anything intuitive. Play it safe enough with some touches of over-the-top and rebellion is the more optimal choice to keep everyone happy.
That’s being said, if you want your project to excel, a logical and creative plan should be done first hand. It’s not fun to play completely by the book – that’s why the “creative” part is there. However, there are still certain fixed notices you should keep in mind: company values, customer requirements and team member experiences.
In the end, it’s best to prepare yourself a profile of each member: what they can, and can’t do, explain it to your customers so that they know at which level they should expect. On the other hand, after your customers have visioned their dream product, note down customers’ requests carefully and consider it strategically – how you can represent the companies’ vision and deliver the greatest values to not only your customers but your team members as well. I’d recommend you analyse each of the customer requirements, therefore, think about what you and your team can do to elevate the idea, set a challenging yet achievable goal and break it down to actionable steps to interpret back to your team.
Should you are not sure about how you perceive your customers’ many dreams nor don’t really understand the functionalities they wish for, just ask them further for more information. Keep in mind that if you don’t understand the feature, your engineers and QA (Quality Assurance) won’t either. You don’t want your team members experiences to be a disaster just because of your lack in understanding, do you?
Keep moving forward
People say “Learning is the story of a lifetime”, and I couldn’t help but give it my big thumbs up. No matter how mature or intelligent you are, which high place you are at, there is always something you are yet to know. Especially in these modern days when everything flashes so fast before our eyes, constant learning for adaptation plays as the utmost importance.
Put it in this context, in the technology race, once you are fallen behind, you lose. The rate of change in technology is so high as a world-stirring app can be outdated just after a short night. Hence, innovation shall be the frontier priority to any PM and technological engineer, and learning is always an effective means to achieve it regardless of whether or not a natural-born idea giver you might be.
I know some of you are shrugging your shoulders. You might be thinking it is easier said than done because your workload is so heavy that you have little time for other personal activities, let alone for getting new knowledge. I am not going to deny that, but good things never come from your comfort zone, right? There are various five-minute sources you can dive in for latest trends, knowledge and skills in this software development field – for free, such as Codebetter, A List Apart, or right here with our informative Savvycom’s blog section.
Still, if you seek for an easier alternative, then:
“Ask them your questions and get some answers”
– Quoted from princess Ariel –
Disney sometimes teaches us more than others ever do, right.
What I am trying to say though, is keep asking “Why”. No one ever knows from the start. We all start off not knowing until we know, and then we deliver our understandings to others. Through constant questioning, we learn and evolve. So it’s totally OK not to know, and it’s also totally OK to ask.
Furthermore, calling for help is definitely worthy of your choice. To some extent, hearing the explanation from somebody else is less time-consuming and seem to stay in your mind longer. A good study hack!
You shall also take full advantage of your company learning benefits if there is any. For example, in Savvycom, we set aside part of our budget as a learning subsidiary for employees in case they want to take an academic or a skilled course, a new qualification, a domestic or foreign technological training, etc. We encourage all of them, especially our PMs: the main in charge of many projects, to dig deeper into the multi-dimension of knowledge for skill enhancements and better product understanding.
Thanks to this meaningful policy, many of our developers and PMs are motivated to learn and become a better version of themselves, therefore, go so far as to create such amazing products to our customers, who never hesitate to give us good and genuine reviews.
To be a good, admirable PM requires more than just a good hand. However, every journey begins with a single step, why not taking your initial steps right now with these little seeds for the PM mind? In case of any further discussion on the topic or cooperation opportunities, don’t hesitate to contact us via:
- Phone: +84 24 3202 9222
- Hotline: +84326752886
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org